Los Angeles Police Department video from officer body cameras and other sources recorded during shootings and other major incidents would be released under a proposal made public Friday.
The proposal is expected to be discussed on Tuesday at the next meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners, the civilian panel which oversees the department, and would reverse the LAPD’s current policy of not releasing any videos expect when under a court order.
The City Council enacted a $59 million plan in June 2016 to equip more than 7,000 patrol officers with body cameras, and the move sparked a debate on when video shot during critical incidents should be publicly released.
Under the proposal that was drafted by Richard Tefank, executive director of the Board of Police Commissioners, video shot during critical incidents — which would include shootings, in-custody deaths and other major events — would be released within 45 days.
The new policy would apply to body cameras, in-car video, police facility surveillance video, drones and video captured by third parties in the department’s possession.
“This policy is intended to balance two important interests: the public’s interest in transparency and police accountability, and the privacy of interests of the individuals depicted in such videos,” Tefank wrote in the proposal.
The use of body cameras has become a prominent issue as the focus on police shootings has grown nationally, and the LAPD has said it hopes the cameras will help build more public trust in the department.
But while it is seeking to build trust, the department has been criticized by some for not releasing the videos.
The commission last year retained the Policing Project at New York University School of Law to gather public input into a new policy regarding the release of body-worn camera video, and a report it released in September of last year found that a majority of members of the general public who responded to a survey said video shot during critical incidents should be made publicly available within a short period of time.
–City News Service